The Train

 

train-suicide

Slicing a wrist was too messy. Besides, I had heard it was ineffective unless one got the proper angle of the vein. I imagined it as slow, tedious and painful.  Forget shotguns. I did not own one and even if I did I would not know how to fire. There was drowning. But I knew I was much too good of a swimmer.

What then? To put my head in the oven was not fair. It may cause an explosion leaving a mess for others to clean up after I was gone.  Pills? Again risky.  I’d have to take a boatload of something and even then they might not do the job.  Cyanide, I had read, was the most effective poison, but that was of course nearly impossible to obtain.

That left only two options: hanging or the railroad tracks. Hanging would be cleaner, no blood. But still it was atrocious. Someone must find me, neck bruised and face white, swinging from the stairwell.  They’d get the shock of their lives, a vision so hideous they may not be able to erase it from memory.

And so the train. It happened all the time. At least once a month I heard about suicides by train.  The Metro ran non-stop. The Metro can NOT stop. It’s not like it  would be anyone’s fault except my own.  Oh sure, it would be bloody.  But my blood would soak the land, maybe even seep to the grass as fertilizer, wild violets blooming relentlessly within cracks of the sidewalk.   Dead on arrival they could quickly do away with my body. Simple. A tiny blurb on the news, if that. I hoped not. I hated the news.

I sat on the tracks. Remembered my family. My friends. How I had given no inkling to anyone of my desire. They would be deeply grieved. But they would get over it. Maybe.

Then of course there was my cat. No one to feed him. No one to clean his box. Yet cats are resilient. Nine lives. I pictured him, wandering the house. He’d wonder where I had gone. He missed me when I went away, yet this time I would not be coming back.  I wondered if he’d howl in desperation. My cat, usually so quiet, only let out a yelp if in pain.  This would pain him.

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I heard the warning horn of the train.

The night was dark, tiny sliver of a moon glinting in the black sky.  The new moon, so they say, holds new beginnings. Oh but I had tried this beginning so many times before, all to no avail. My life closed in upon me. “Failure,” the voice said. “Failure! Loser! Burden! Not worth the ground you walk on.”

Traffic ran along the boulevard. Drivers stopped at the red light at the bottom of the hill. Cars parked at the Chinese restaurant, passengers staggering with bags of late night chow mein. Voices cackled, television blaring from open doors of the Blackthorn pub.  Were all of them oblivious to the grief of this world?

“Four thousand deaths in Chicago,” Mr. Trump had said in the candidates’ debate. “All by gun violence.” He was right of course. Somewhere in my city, someone was being shot  at that very moment.

I’d pay a banger to kill me if I had the money. If I thought he would do it. He would not. That’s the irony.

“Seven billion people and every single one has a problem,” my neighbor Mrs. Gotti had once told me.  I thought of Mrs. Gotti in her kitchen, apron dusted in flour, hair woven in a bun.  Homemade pasta, she made it from scratch through an old fashioned press. And Christmas cookies, wafer thin, laced with sugar.  I’d never learned how to make my own. What else had I never learned?

The second warning horn blared, deafening my ears.

My cat. Green eyes.  My friend Bjorn. Scruffy jeans, red wisp of a goatee. He had once told me,  “You are an inspiring person.” We’d read tarot together, walked in the woods at solstice, stopped to admire trees.  We played music till dawn, Bjorn beating his drums, me pounding my keyboard like the punk rock Carpenters.  But now. Inspired to die.

The third warning horn sounded, louder than the others.

My thoughts raced in synch with the horn. The shriek taunted.  Now or never now or never now or nevernowornevernowornever

Now.

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I rose from the stones, gym shoes slipping. Laces untied, they could just as easily have bound me, wedged in the rails like that boy in Fried Green Tomatoes. Then I’d tremble in the few seconds before my self destruction became inevitable.

But no. Not today.

Maybe someday, but not today.  Suicide was a business best left unfinished.

 

to-anyone-who-has-had-suicidal-thoughts

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September is Suicide Awareness/ Prevention Month.

Please don’t kill yourself today.

 

Return to the Underworld

 

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Demeter:

Autumn is, by my own hand and bidding, the bleakest of seasons. It is then I make the world wither and die.  Would you expect less of me? My beloved daughter Persephone is taken from me once again. She must return to the abode of the dead, forever at the mercy of her husband Hades.  And I, the great grain goddess, go into a state of grief, near madness. I make no secret of this.  As I suffer, the world around me suffers as well.

Leaves drop from their branches, fruit rots on its vines.  Fields go barren, animals grow lean with starvation. The sun, once vibrant and gold, flickers intermittently, its warmth sporadic.  The days grow shorter, the nights eerie and long.  Dank cold sets in, gales of rough winds churning.  Soon all the rivers and ponds will freeze with black ice, fish trapped beneath.  All things must die. This is my only revenge, to cut sunlight from the world of the living.

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I blame Hades, of course.  It was he, the dark lord, who kidnapped my daughter, making her his child bride. Though he may be ruler of the Underworld, he is not fit for a wife such as she!

I still remember that day in the Sicilian fields. My daughter Persephone had been gathering grapes, sweet and purple as heather. How she loved to pluck them! It was her utmost joy. The innocence of childhood still bubbled within her. She knew nothing of the world. She was, as I recall, quite young.

Then suddenly, the land gaped open in a hideous crack.  I heard a blood curdling shriek as Sir Hades galloped up on his horse, a black stallion. In one fell sweep he scooped up my baby.

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Down, down, they rode, into the abyss of the earth, mud sputtering.  I chased them but Hades’ stallion outran me. Tar lurched as they entered the bowels of hell. I watched, powerless and bereft. The gap of land sealed, trapping them beneath. My beloved Persephone was gone, leaving only the sun dappled fields behind, her basket of grapes tipped over and spilled on the grass.  

I sunk to my knees and wept.

What Hades did to my child in the Underworld, I dare not imagine!  The gory details are too hideous for a mother to ponder.  I only know that somehow he bribed my girl with pomegranate seeds. Yes bribery!  Leave it to a rogue like Hades to concoct a shrewd scheme. Somehow he convinced Persephone to eat a full six seeds, thus binding her to the darkness.

Six seeds, ripe and perfect, all ingested by my child. And each of those seeds insured that she could never be fully released from the wretched prison of the Underworld. Yet there were also six seeds left uneaten. Thank the heavens for that.  Therefore we reached a compromise, Hades and I.  It was agreed that for six months out of the year my child would reside with the dark lord, but for the six remaining months she’d return home to me.   To be clear, it was NOT a generous compromise. I objected adamantly. However, my brother Zeus insisted it was the best that could be arranged.

And so, it is for this reason I wreak  winter’s havoc upon the earth, depriving all living things of food and sustenance. As I suffer, so all must suffer!

Today is the autumn equinox and Hades has come to claim her.   Thus we are parted, my daughter and I, until springtime.

I  curse this land.

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Persephone:

Gentle human, lend me your ear.  Has my mother Demeter been bending it with her tales of woe?  Has she told you of how, for six long months she will be separated from me, her baby daughter?  How today, at autumn’s equinox, I am banished to the Underworld where I must reside with my evil husband until my joyous return in the spring?   Oh, I can just hear her, voice whining like a sad violin!  Spare me of it!  The story she tells could not be further from the truth.

The day my lord Hades rescued me from the drab labor of the Sicilian fields was the happiest day of my life. Do you know what I did in those fields? My uncle Zeus forced me to pick grapes. Grapes! To be made into wine for his vast banquets. I toiled for hours in the blazing sun, my hands raw under the vines, my back burnt red-brown.  I was no better than a common slave.  Oh, how I wished that fruit would wither upon its vine!  And then, in further humiliation, I was made to crush the grapes with my own feet, slithering peels wrapped between my toes. When Hades finally rescued me I was nothing but a sad waif, smelling of concord and sugar, purple stains etched in my hands and heels.

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I still remember, clear as crystal, the day my dark lord came for me. Riding upon his black steed, he emerged like a knight from the red caverns of the earth. Never had I seen a man more stunning, more virile or more handsome!  I abandoned my work, craning my neck to get a closer look. My heart raced.  I was by then a woman, having reached my eighteenth name day, though my mother still thought me a child.   Hades said nothing to me, all communication smoldered within his eyes.  I understood.  When he extended his hand I knew my life would be changed in that instant.

My lord Hades was the kindest, gentlest of all the gods, and when he asked me to become his bride I did not hesitate for one moment. He offered me a pomegranate which I eagerly bit into, pink succulence twirling on my tongue.  Hades then cautioned me about eating the seeds. He advised I leave some behind on the table, so that I could still be permitted to return to earth if I chose.

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Return to earth? However could he think such a thing? I had no interest in earth! I wanted only to live in his world, far away from my prying mother and my tedious uncle. But alas, the dark lord insisted:

“Leave six seeds uneaten,” he said. “Do this not for yourself but as an act of kindness toward your mother.  She misses you tremendously and grieves each day you are gone.  Do it also as a generosity to humankind, for Demeter has made the earth barren in your absence.  If you agree to visit with her for even a part of the year she will replenish the grain and fruit.  Humankind and their animals will therefore never starve.”

His manner was so humble, his voice so true.  I could not refuse him. Nor could I be responsible for the starvation of humankind and their beloved animals!  And so I spat out six pomegranate seeds, lining them up neatly upon Hades’ table. He nodded solemnly.  “An agreement will be reached,” he assured me.

My dark lord and I were married that day on the shores of the River Styx, Charon and Cerberus presiding.  With no reservations I pledged myself to Hades, his eternal bride.

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Because of the agreement, every year at the vernal equinox I  must return to the land of the living. I visit Demeter for six months. During this time she makes the earth rich with wheat and barley, apples, grapes, even pomegranates, and all manner of fruits and vegetables. The sun beats down upon us and the rivers run cool.

By summer’s end the fields are tired, overwrought from their busy production. The land needs a rest, and I too need a rest from my mother’s over-protection and my uncle’s stern hand.

When the autumn equinox arrives it is the most glorious of all days!  The earth brandishes its jewels, landscape scattered with ruby leaves.  The sun lowers  to golden haze and the temperature grows cool. It is then the cavern of the Underworld opens and Hades greets me once again.

 

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I then return to my true home, where I rule in splendor for six months.

In the Underworld servants dote on me and Orpheus serenades with his lyre.  Charon brings his passengers, the newly dead, to the shores of our river. There I greet them with joy, welcoming them to our abode. I am respected and loved. Best of all, my uncle Zeus can never make me crush grapes again!

However, I am unhappy with this bothersome six month contract.  I vow to dismantle it!

And I will.

Sometime in the 21st century I  plan to present my case to the Council of Olympus. The weather upon planet earth will  then became chaotic. Winter will seem as summer and vice versa. Tornadoes and hurricanes will  wreak havoc upon the land. There will be tsunamis, earthquakes and blizzards, causing much destruction.

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I must warn you, gentle human, do not to be alarmed. There is no warming of your globe, nor have you brought this inclement weather upon yourselves.  It is only me and my lord Hades, attempting to bargain with Demeter.  Hot tempered, she shall take her vengeance out on the earth.

But fear not. When I renegotiate my contract all will be well.  The earth shall be restored, replenished and free of chaos. It is then my mother Demeter and my Uncle Zeus will finally release their hold upon me. It is then I’ll take my true and rightful place where I will live in bliss, year long, by my husband’s side.

As above, so below. The world shall be at peace and so shall I.

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Autumn Equinox

 

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Equal parts dark and light, equal parts day and night. As the                                                          sun wanes in the North                                                                                                                              so do we.  The long

but

necessary

sleep jumps from the tilt of the sky.

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Crops harvest, land                                                                                                                                      rests, hot beat                                                                                                                                                of summer gone. Painted now                                                                                                                 in cool splashes. Citrine

amber, scarlet.  Rich jewels  to                                                                                                           ripen                                                                                                                                                          and brighten

the oncoming night.

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Have a Blessed Mabon.

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Give Peace a Chance

 

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Today, September 21, 2016 is the official International Day of Peace. However, if we really want peace (and rest assured, many DO NOT!) then we must be acting in terms of peace in our every day lives. This means:  Breathe peace, think peace, BE peace.

My county, the U.S., has been at war for 13 years. My government spends about a trillion-billion-gazillion dollars on war. (Really, I daresay most economists could not even keep track of it. The numbers are too humongous for any human being to actually fathom.)   So I come to the conclusion that my government must like war. Otherwise why spend all that money promoting it?

This perplexes me. I mean really?  Really??

(PLEASE BE WARNED! Graphic pictures  will follow! It ain’t pretty but it is REAL.)

 

They choose war. Therefore they choose this.

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And this.

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Not to mention THIS.

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And of course THIS.

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(Jeez, good thing I’m not being censored by Zuckerberg, eh?)

War is ugly. Nothing sleek nor stylish about it.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that war has never done any good and never will. Just study history and you will find this is true.

No one in their right mind would choose what I have just shown you. (Unless of course you were a Wall Street crony, far removed from such violence, and war was a guarantee that your stocks in Haliburton would shoot up and make you a gazillionaire.)

There is, however, a difference between being pro-peace and being anti-war. Pro-peace means putting our focus on PEACE. Anti-war means actually putting the focus on war, and therefore (inadvertently)  creating MORE war. (That is why the ‘War on Drugs’ has created more drugs and the ‘War on Terror’ has created more terrorists. Have you noticed?)

Each of us, in our daily lives can choose to be peaceful. We can be more accepting, more patient and kinder. This may mean taking a step back. It may mean learning to accept someone who has a different belief system or lifestyle from your own. It may mean tuning out the snarky media who likes to promote hate and intolerance. It may mean getting more sleep, eating healthier food, learning to breathe, learning to love.

In the end, I trust that  humankind do not really want to blow each other’s faces off.  In the end, I trust that our planet has enough resources to go around with many untapped and more being discovered each day. If a trillion gazillion dollars can be spent on War, then the same amount can be spent on Peace. Gardens are cheaper than bombs. Serenity is cheaper than PTSD.

When John and Yoko did their commercial for peace, they called it ‘Bed Peace’ and spent a week in bed talking to the press about peace. (Note guitar, flowers and, oh yeah, hair 🙂 )

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The idea was to get the media to actually focus on Peace (also music, love and nature) rather than War. To this day, I do not think the world has understood this concept — focusing on what we want, rather than what we do not want.  John and Yoko urged us to ‘Give peace a CHANCE.’  Just step back and give it a chance. This is not some airy-fairy, hippie sh*t. Nor is it some pie in the sky dream. This CAN BE OUR REALITY.

I do not think humankind has given peace a chance. I think we are too busy believing the lies and the hype promoted from those that would like to control us.

But we can begin now to change our thinking and shift the paradigm that insists upon war.

Peace further explained:

Please Don’t Kill Yourself Today

 

Gothic-Fallen-Angel-gothic pd

Sometimes, in the throes of depression we can lose our interest in life. We forget that we are needed, wanted and vital in this world. We forget what we were once passionate  about. We may even forget the many reasons we have to stay alive.

The sun is always there although sometimes obscured by the clouds. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. (Blah blah blah. Those sound like old cliche’s, I know. However, they are true.)  Often, a good way to reconnect is to think in terms of simplicity.

When I find myself sinking to the lowest depths I try remember the simple things that I am passionate about.

Animals.  (Cats do not believe in depression. Have you noticed?)

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Nature. (Flowers follow the sun.)

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Books. (Always a potential happy ending. And if not, I am reminded that things could be a lot worse.)

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September 2016 is suicide prevention awareness month.

Please don’t kill yourself today.

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Smile at Someone Today

 

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Teetering on the edge.  Just what is needed to recharge the spirit?

Today, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is a popular suicide location. (Somehow  ‘popular’ seems an odd word to use in this case. It is like saying the “No.1 suicide hot spot! Get your tickets now!”)

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Other ‘popular’ locations include Japan’s Aokigahara Forest (aka the ‘sea of trees’ and or ‘suicide forest’) and England’s Beachy Head.  Suicide is so common in these places that signs are posted urging potential victims to seek help.

The jump from the Golden Gate Bridge is 250 feet. Most victims die from the impact of the body hitting the water which can instantly demolish the central nervous system, transect the spinal cord and rip blood vessels. Not the mention the terror of falling which can cause an immediate heart attack. Even if they make it to the bottom alive, there is always the chance of drowning and shark attacks.  Reportedly, only 1% of those who jump survive.

One suicide victim who died jumping off the bridge left a note saying:

“I’m going to walk to the bridge.  If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.”

He jumped.

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